My first school talkWell, I can officially say that my first couple of school talks are well and truly under my belt now.
As you can imagine, I was extremely nervous with that dreaded fear of looking around the classroom, only to find bored expressions on all the students faces. But, I was pleased to see it was quite the opposite:
The first class I went to, on Thursday 28th February at Park End School in Middlesbrough, were a delight and I was quite honoured to find that the teacher was half-way through reading my book to them already. So when it came to the questions, at the end of my talk, there were some really great ones about the characters and why did I chose their names, and where did I get the idea's for the monsters in the story. In which I answered; my two daughters and Greek Mythology research.
Medousa, also known as Medusa, with snakes for hair, could turn any living person to stone. The Minotavros, known as the Minotaur; was a ferocious beast, which was half-man, half-bull. I explained to the class the reason for pronouncing them in the former sense, rather than latter, was because this was how the Greeks said them, or so I am told.
Equally charming were Class two, which I attended on 5th March at the same school, and although they had not yet started reading my book, they were just as enthusiastic as the first class; listening intently to my brief synopsis and my chapter reading, and again asking some really great questions.
During my reading of my book, I had brought in with me eleven objects for them to look at and pass around. Their task, in this activity, was to see if they could spot them, within the text, and circle them. Of course this led to a few little giggles, especially the barbie doll posing as my Iris, and a bit of chattering but I'm pleased to say they were all paying attention and got all eleven objects circled on their hand-out sheets.
The eleven objects that were passed around in class:Leaves, Fluffy Whiteness, Crete, Door, Library, Selenite Crystal, Bell, Blue Crystal, Greek Dictionary, Mirror and Iris.
Book except (objects are in blue)
Scene starts with Robert speaking:
'We have been searching for years now for the clear Selenite crystal, but we haven’t had any luck yet.’
‘So we can’t open the door?’ asked Emma.
‘I didn’t say that, I said we can’t open the door to the world of Crete,’ said Robert slowly and now he had a peculiar look on his face. ‘I wonder . . . if she could help?’ he said, almost talking to himself now. ‘Just wait here a minute,’ he said suddenly and he quickly strode over to the library door, flung it open and ran out leaving the girls looking at each other with bewilderment.
It wasn’t long before Robert was back and in his hand he held the hand-mirror and a blue crystal. ‘Come with me,’ he said quickly.
‘Where are we going?’ asked Emma, but she already knew the answer. ‘Do you think it’s safe, don’t you think we should get an adult?’
‘It’ll be fine don’t worry,’ shouted Robert over his shoulder as he ran down the corridor and down the metal spiral staircase to the cellar. The girls hurried after him.
They all ran through to the next chamber and right up to the old, wooden, carved door. ‘I don’t know why we haven’t thought of this before,’ said Robert as he slotted the crystal into the back of the mirror. The girls moved closer and peered eagerly over his shoulder. At first all they could see was their reflection staring back. Then a blue mist started to appear in the mirror and through the mist they could see letters forming into a word. ‘Parakalo voitheia,’ Robert read.
‘Parakalo voitheia, what does that mean?’ asked Emma.
‘It means please help, it’s Greek,’ said Robert softly.
Robert then clicked the mirror into place into the carved wooden door with the crystal on the inside and the password facing out. Robert spoke the password clearly to the door and almost immediately a bright light surrounded the door frame. It shone through and out towards them, illuminating their faces with its brilliant glow. Slowly the door creaked open and in the open doorway was the most beautiful girl Emma had ever seen before. Her long silver hair seemed to ripple in the wind, and yet no breeze was there. Emma noticed her delicate feet were bare and did not touch the ground but floated inches above it.
Her long ankle-length dress was a radiant colour of turquoise. The pattern on it looked like water cascading and swirling down a waterfall and as Emma looked more closely at it she realised it was actually moving. The hem of the dress towards her ankles was a mass of entangled vines of emerald green. On these leaves were tiny splashes from the falling water and they shone like small drops of tears.
‘Who is she?’ whispered Grace. Emma looked down at her little sister’s face and saw Grace was just as in awe as she was.
‘This,’ said Robert proudly, ‘is Iris and she is a messenger from the Gods. Herman told me when called upon she will help us on our journey.’ Robert now turned to Iris who was smiling warmly at them all. ‘We need your help, Iris, we can’t find the missing crystal we need. Please could you show us where it is?’
Iris slowly closed her sapphire blue eyes. Her long lashes lay gently upon her pale cheeks and she looked deep in thought. Suddenly, her eyes snapped open and she looked at all three of them in turn, her gaze finally resting on Grace.
‘Years have passed that I do wait.
All nearly lost, but not too late.
A glimmer of hope, dare I say?
Long has it been here cold and grey.
Stand and wait, I keep listening.
Many sunsets, then moon glistening.
Delay no longer my dear friends,
‘tis you alone can make amends.
If eye be sharp and spirit keen,
senses in-tune, it will be seen.
Ornate beauty within it shows.
Where it dwells only one soul knows.
A light from darkness it shall bring.
A wind doth blow and it will ring.
Hath wary thoughts, I will confess.
Magic, sorcery it doth possess.
Five and five steps you must rise.
Continue east, to where it lies.
A letter written, for your pleasure
There ye find your hidden treasure.’
Her voice rang out to them like a small bell, with a fine quality that indicated wisdom. A mist started to form behind her and she gently floated backwards towards it. Soon she was consumed within its fluffy whiteness and disappeared completely from view.
‘What does all that mean?’ asked Emma as she watched the large oak door slowly close in front of them. Robert shrugged at her and Grace looked deep in thought.
Suddenly, they heard a loud cough right behind them. They all jumped a few inches off the ground in fright. They spun around quickly to see Herman and Ceber standing in the cellar doorway.
‘I think ye ‘ave some explainin te do you three, don’t ye think?’ said Herman rather firmly.
The book talk was then concluded with giving them all a nice book mark; kids love something they can take home, and a sweet each.
Of course, even if they don't remember anything about my book or what we were talking about, I'm sure they will remember the author that gave them a sweet and that accounts for something at least :)
Well, all I can say is; roll on the next one, I can't wait!!